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Dark Lord Imperial Stout - 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,219 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,219
Hads: 3,966
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 26.17%
Wants: 3,099
Gots: 1,870 | FT: 151
Brewed by:
3 Floyds Brewing Co. visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002

A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Available one day a year, in April at the brewery: Dark Lord Day.

Vintage guide:
Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax = 2014 - 15% ABV
Maroon wax = 2015 15% ABV
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,219 | Hads: 3,966
Photo of julian89
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So, it has been a very long time since I have actually rated a beer, but my very good friend mscudder (previous rater on this brew) shared this with me yesterday. Ah what an experience. I haven't tasted a stout of this complexity since a founders backstage series beer from 2011, you may have heard of it, you know a beer by the name of CBS!!! Anyways, we opened it after letting warm a little...
Apperance: Color was great, nice dark syrup feel (expected from a coffee stout), good lacing too. What it lacked was a proper head and retention. Don't get us wrong we know how to do a proper pour, the beer just wasn't having it, but this is really my only downside to this brew.
Smell: Oh sweet beer gods! The sugary waft, the subtle coffee, oh so great. Vanilla was very very subdued by this point, I forgot to say we were drinking a 2012.
Taste: First hit is a fantastic medley of dark fruits for me (dates, raisins and plums). The sugars taste as if they were a purified syrup. Definitely gearing towards a dessert beer here. Coffee doesn't have the pungent taste of many coffee stouts I've had in the past, but this may be due to the aging process.
Mouthfeel: This, in my opinion, is the high point of the beer. It was oh so chewy, coated the tongue with sugary delight. The froth of the dissolved CO2 was at a perfect level (despite the lack of visual indication). Excellent mouthfeel for a RIS.
Overall: Definitely a beer I would like to enjoy again. Maybe next time we will try fresh off the line. Thanks again for sharing Scudder.

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Photo of Jonada
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 release. 22 oz bomber into a 22 oz snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, black once in the glass, with 1+ finger of dark tan head that settles to a medium ring and some wispy coating. Body is opaque.

Smell: Coffee, roasted malt, sweet malt, vanilla, booze and some dark fruit.

Taste: Roasted malt, molasses, huge sweetness, slight astringency, mild smoke, coffee.

Mouthfeel: Extremely full bodied. With a thick, chewy, viscous (insert adjective of your choice) mouthfeel. Medium levels of fine, gentle carbonation. This is probably the thickest beer I've ever had. Finishes sweet, but booze, while still there, is masked surprisingly well.

Overall: I can see why this beer has such an infamous reputation. It's a big ass imperial stout with flavors turned WAY up. I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got to try it, but there are much better options out there.

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Photo of Malefactor
3.66/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012, red wax. I feel my raTing was generous. This takes the cake for me personally for most over rated beer I have had. Taste was incredibly disappointing considering this is a once a year, hyped up line up to buy beer.

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Photo of boredalready
3.09/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2014 bottle. Wanted to like this but it was sickly sweet and a mess of malt and soy sauce. Poured most of it out. Hope with age the cloying sweetness mellows.

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Photo of swanfungus
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 red wax cap.

Huge soy sauce and plum aroma up front that softened over time. Once it warmed up a bit, it became eminently drinkable and quite tasty. Does not taste at all like a 15% abv beer. A very impressive brew.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

Poured dark mahogany with a thin tan head. Aroma is dark fruit and booze. Flavor is surprisingly sweet with dark fruit and chocolate. Some roasted caramel and anise on the finish. Body is full - almost syrupy. Coats your mouth with delicious flavor. Hard to believe it 15% ABV, it hides it well. Overall, I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle split between four samplers.

Pours ruby black, with a light brown head that just occupies a ring along the glass. Smell is sweet, mild, and bourbon.

Taste is sweet, almosty syrupy (but not unpleasantly so), some chocolate. Some flavor similar to having a chocolate malt.

Mouthfeel is rich and thick. Overall, very good.

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Photo of AMCimpi
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Beer 750 for me on BA. 2013 bottle.
A: pours a thick black, syrup with very like dark tan head.
S: boozy, with some roasty, dark fruit
T: roasty with some dark fruit sweetness (not as over the top as others have said, probably due to it aging for 2 years). Not as boozy as the nose would lead you to believe.
F: medium to full, very enjoyable
O: this beer was worth the wait, wow, the aroma and the feel are spot on with the top non BA stouts out there. Really enjoyed this, look forward to more in the future

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Photo of Zaso
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2013 Vintage, poured into a snifter. Motor oil black, very little head, low carbonation.

A - Notes of caramel and fruitiness jump out right away. You can smell the bite of alcohol pretty clearly, which I only mention because it is well disguised in the taste.

T - Was not expecting the amount of sweetness that I got from this beer up front. Your taste buds are immediately bombarded with sweet, fruity notes of licorice, cherry and raisons, with just a hint of the typical molasses. The fruity assault is immediately followed by a pleasant, drinkable finish that doesn't taste boozy, but also lacks complexity. Finishes mild and neutral, leaving you wanting another sip. Somewhat dangerous for a 15% creation.

M - Medium thickness for an imperial stout. Of course tasting the ultra-thick BCBS afterwards might have made it seem thinner. Overall a very balanced viscosity that is extremely drinkable.

Was very excited to drink this beer and was hoping for it to stand out among the many imperial stouts of today's world. I wasn't at all prepared for the blast of dark fruitiness that hit my taste buds at first sip. It's almost overwhelming, but disguises the booze so nicely and differentiates this one from others. It has a really pleasant and mild finish that makes it easy to drink. Overall, a great experience.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The lights flicker as we knife the last bits of red wax (the year of his coming, 2012) off of the bottle, and as we pop the top, the hills rumble. The Dark Lord has arrived. It pours heavily and syrupy from the bottle, settling down the color of murky, oily motor fluid. A ring of fine butterscotch bubbles crowns the unholy beast, leaving axonal cords of lacing as you swirl the liquid. No haze or sediment is appreciable, and carbonation is fierce at its edges. His stench drips off him in waves of massive buttery diacetyls, forgotten mustiness, wasabi vegetals, cloying sugars of plum, dried figs, and orange marmalade fruitiness, hot peppery booze, powdered cocoa and milk chocolate sweetness, honeysuckle florals, molasses, light sunscreen chemical creaminess, sugary whole milkiness, golden raisins, heavy caramel, chocolate, and black coffee maltiness, charred barley, and the faintest green resinous hoppiness. We bow to him, thanking him for his audience, and he graciously allows us a taste. This comes as a mix of one of the sweetest nectars to have ever crossed our lips. Sweet, as in cloyingly puckering. Notes include heavy molasses, mulled chicory, syrupy prunes, red cherries, and dates, canned brown bread drip, Graham crackers, wet potpourri, sweet port and cognac alcohol airs, hairspray, liquid milk chocolate, chocolate milkshake lactics, apple cider vinegar, arugula, fusel phenolic plastics, chalky Milk Duds, soy sauce and salty seaweed, coffee liqueur, raw chocolate chip cookie dough, candied almonds, oily pig fat, and cola syrup. As it warms, the aftertaste breathes hotter and hotter of booze and chalked dark chocolate cloy. His body is more oily than chewy, but full nonetheless. Carbonation is lightly moderate, but you have to work for it. Slurp, smack, cream, and froth are supreme, aided along by the heavy residual sugariness. Glug is immutable. The mouth’s mucosa is brushed with this same dripping thickness, and eventually curls into a soft dusty dryness. The abv is hearty, but we don’t dare dictate to the Dark Lord. He demands to remain, so you obey, sipping away at a slow, slow pace.

Overall, what an experience!! To be in his presence at last is such a lovely thing. You hear the rumors, but even after assessing his aroma, you aren’t satisfied that they may be true. The nose is sweet, yes, but not overly cloyingly so. It has the fruit, the coffee, and sugariness, but they blend to a harmonious end. Then, you sip. The sugars hit your teeth, and you reel backwards. At first, it is admittedly shocking, but the more you give into it, the more it warms you, drawing you in. You begin to appreciate the cloy for what it is, and by the end of the glass you are stuporously happy. Still, you find yourself yearning, reaching for balance in the world through the foggy darkness. You beg for each and every one of those fifteen perfect to dive in and pull you from the sugary muck. They only come as rumbles from the depths of the gullet; they do not ride across the top, where you wish them to be found. We are sad to see him depart, and as our only vintage we have no basis of comparison, but perhaps a younger beast would help quell some of his uncharacteristic sweetness. Rest easy Dark Lord, and thank you.

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Photo of beersdmf17
2.97/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2013 vintage.

Pours thick opaque brown with a tan head and decent lacing. Smells sweet, with light hints of dark fruit and molasses. Taste is sickly sweet, with no malt backbone or body. No trace of coffee or chocolate, just sweetness, almost reminiscent of hoisin or soy sauce. No bitterness at all, very one note, and not a pleasant one. Coats the mouth and the tongue thoroughly, flavors linger for a long time in the mouth after swallowing. Is pleasantly thick however.

Very disappointed by this beer, had high hopes for it, especially considering the rave reviews and other good Three Floyds stouts I've had it the past. Overly sweet, no balance.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage, poured into a snifter

A- pours a pitch black color with a small foamy dark tan head that reduces quickly, leaving just a trace of film floating on top, short lasting lace follows

S- strong boozy chocolate malt up front with a strong aroma of marischino cherry, also picking up some charred wood, dark roasted coffee and black licorice

T- super sweet up front with big notes of vanilla whipping cream, dark artisan chocolate, sherry, toasted marshmallow, black licorice, vinous flavors, finishing very sweet

M- medium body with low carbonation, slightly oxidized leads to a thick but slick finish

O- the oxidization is definitely bringing out some cherry/sherry notes on both the taste and aroma. Definitely a sipper as it is one hell of a sweet beer

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Photo of Fieldzy27
4.96/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a goblet.
Pours jet black and almost no carbonation

Aroma smells like ultra dark chocolate and roasted malt , very explosive aroma.

Taste sweet bread dark and milk chocolate raisins dark fruit , fig , dates. Coffee and roast flavor.

Mouthfeel :liquid velvet.

Overall world class. Reviewed from phone.

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Photo of Dr_Crantastic
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted on 3 different occasions. 2014 release. This beer had a vey nice coffee punch for the better half of the year following release. Upon release - roasted coffee, chocolate and slightly sweet. Notes of soy sauce now with a more present smokiness.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage, consumed in January 2015. Dark black with almost no carbonation. A little thin for a stout but very good. No special adjuncts, just a classic RIS.

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Photo of Djohnson300
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours thick, black. Immediate boozy smell but 2014 finished very sweet with chocolatey but fruity taste. I would have rated higher but it's a little sweet this year. Looking forward to Dark Lord Day in April!

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Photo of rongcsc
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried the 2011 that I got in a trade. Very dark and thick in appearance. Taste was a bit too sweet at first but it improved significantly as it sat. Mouthfeel was good but not great, somewhat thin. Alcohol was well-concealed for a 15% beer. Overall, I am glad I was able to try this beer; however, it's not one of my favorites and I probably wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of vanburton1
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect this year 2015! Well worth the wait (considering I didn't wait). Anticipating to try next years. Rich and strong with coffee and less sugar this time. Nailed it!

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Photo of mikepcarney
3.21/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2013. I ignored others in this one. I've always heard it tasted like suger and soy sauce. Open this up and was still carb'd. Poured into a snifter (Karbach) to a very thin head. Nice dark color. Then it hit the nose. SWEETNESS?! Odd I thought. Especially for the style that is stated. I smell molasses, raisins, and SWEETNESS! It's over powering. Next the taste. It hits the tongue and yuck! What is going on here? Sweetness up front so big that whatever happens afterwards doesn't really matter. Tastes like some put some PEZ in my beer. Id pour it if I hadn't chased this one down. My tongue is starting to hurt and my stomach is already siring. I will never recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of themind
2.71/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had high expectations for this beer. 2012 version, which I aged for two years. This beer is a thick, cloying, disaster of a beer. Soy sauce and molasses dominate the taste of this 15% monster. This beer nears drain pouring status, the simple fact that it is a single day release beer made me finish my glass. It looked great when poured, from then on....it sucked! really just a big let down. There was one person that liked it, good for him...have another glass.

Bottom Line: I would not buy it if it was shelf turding!

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle from a Sat., 12/20/2014 Better Beer Authority Bottle Share (thanks, Richard H..), 2014 vintage (blue wax), poured into a *** 2014 "Holiday Extravaganza" snifter glass, drank over 15 minutes

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Photo of kkleu357
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle. Thick motor oil black pour. Heavy black licorice smell. Very sweet plum tasting. Wow is there a lot of flavor. Lots of fruity taste and sweet licorice taste. First experience with Dark Lord was a good one.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%

In review is a 2012 bottle (the 2nd red label)

A - Pours an engine oil black with a very thin medium colored toffee lacing ring. Swirl the glass and it has lots of legs, very thick, and very sticky on the glass.

S - Black licorice, dark chocolate, dark molasses and no alcohol in the aroma.

T - Mostly dark molasses and dark chocolate flavor with a hint of black licorice buried in the background, minor amounts of peat/smokiness. Most impressive, little to no alcohol presence.

M - Thick, full bodied, sticky, slippery, viscous, light alcohol warming on the way down.

O - This bottle aged perfectly. I see a lot of complaints about this beer tasting like soy sauce, it just needs to be aged ... patience. Absolutely enjoying this, an impressive beer.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

2009 vintage: Big malty body, liquorice, molasses, coffee and dark chocolate. held up well, not the sugar bomb per se that others have alluded to.
2010 vintage: Appears to be sweeter than 2009. Belly-warming, complex and ballsy for sure.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.27/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Look 9/10
Smell 16/20
Taste 27/40
Feel 5/10
Drinkability 15/20

Overall 73/100

Way to sweet and rich for my liking... Some things are just 'too good' to be true. Super, super sweet and so danm malty it's almost like chewing on tar. The malty sweetness is far too over the top for me to ever pay the price on this again~

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Dark Lord Imperial Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.